Making the Grade

Parent Portal has got to be one of the most organized educational trackers out there. It allows me to be constantly captivated by this grade and that. I watch the updates like a stock broker watches spikes in the market. It’s gotten to the point where I check it at least double the amount of times my parents do. And yet, I still don’t have the peace of mind that a student with good grades should.

Around this time, students should get a progress report of all their grades. As soon as I heard this, I knew mine would be an absolute wreck. Don’t get me wrong, I work and try as hard as I can at school to get an education. But when you have an average of seven assignments in the grade book, it can become harder to prove.

I am a firm believer in the saying “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. We all have our talents and areas we have to work hard in. But when it comes to grades, am I trying to one up everyone, learn it for my own good, or a a little bit of both?

Now, we all have a ‘one upper’ in our lives: that one person who is always trying to look better than you. I don’t want to be that person; no one does. But you kind of have to channel the inner ‘one upper’ every now and then, or else you’re not promoting yourself. For example, if you don’t talk about the ten after-school activities you’re in when applying to a job or a club, and you only talk about your average grades, you won’t come off as well-rounded. The tricky job of self promotion takes finesse; it can be easy to cross the line into being pretentious and annoying, but done right, it can really help.

When homework takes me into the late hours of the night and the noticeably sleep deprived section of my mind starts questioning things likes “why should I learn this anyway?,” the first answer that pops into my head is “for your own good.” But is that a good enough answer? The flaw with almost automatic and mechanical answers such as this is that they don’t give a clear cut and concise solution to the question. It’s the infamous “because I said so” that every kid has heard at one point or another. The flip side of this coin is that I really have no problem with learning about significant figures if it leads me to a better future. I don’t mind a little homework from each class as long as I understand what I’m doing. The funny thing is, I would miss the academic life if I didn’t lead it.

So, maybe a little bit of both is the best answer here: not becoming a complete ‘one-upper’ nor a full on believer in ‘because I said so.’ Looking for a moderation of both to create a brighter future is what high school is for.